A Workplace Wellness Success Story: Oregon Medical Group

Conquer WellnessHere’s the deal; we spend A LOT of time at work. On a standard business day, the average American working adults spends about 8.8 hours at their workplace. That’s more than half of your waking hours! While that might be a little super depressing, if you look at it with a “glass half full” point of view, there’s a big time opportunity; to get healthy at work!

Since we spend so much time at work, workplace wellness has become more important than ever. For most of us, our post-work obligations trump things like exercise, preparing healthy meals, and stress management. But if you can use those 8.8 hours and incorporate healthy activites into your routine, you can make some big strides toward healthy living.

If you’re looking for an organization that has embraced this concept, our pals at Oregon Medical Group are a perfect example. Oregon Medical Group is a medical provider that has clinics throughout Eugene and Springfield (Oregon), and their motives for workplace wellness go beyond just having healthy employees. Since they’re caring for patients and asking them to make healthier lifestyle choices, they felt a responsibility to serve as an example in our community.

take-a-walking-breakWhat is Oregon Medical Group doing to promote healthy living among employees?

Oregon Medical Group’s primary focus is about as simple as it gets; they’re encouraging employees to walk more. Using pedometers and incentives for tracking their daily steps, they created a culture of competition, teamwork, and fun within the organization. The goal for a healthy adult is to take about 10,000 steps every day. While the primary focus of Oregon Medical Group’s wellness promotion is around walking, any steps can count. So if employees wear their pedometers for things like sports, Zumba, running, hiking, etc. they’ll increase their chances at earning incentives.

Is it working?

You bet it is! Their success stories are phenomenal, and their walking program has garnered some attention in the media. Eugene based newspaper, The Register Guard did a full profile of the program. Check out the article here: Good business moves: Companies help employees stay in motion to improve health.

We’re so thankful to have partners like Oregon Medical Group, and we were thrilled to see their walking program get the positive attention it deserves. Let’s hope their positive example spreads throughout Eugene/Springfield.

Keep on stepping, Oregon Medical Group!

You Pledge to “Go Healthy,” We’ll Give Money to Oregon Charities

TheCivilWarSeries_Banner AdWelcome to the PacificSource Healthy Life Civil War Challenge! From Oct. 28 through Nov. 25 we’re encouraging University of Oregon Duck and Oregon State University Beaver fans to step up, and pledge to live a Healthy Life at HealthyLifeChallenge.org.

By committing to take simple steps to improve your lifestyle, you can help your team – Ducks or Beavers – win the PacificSource Healthy Life Civil War Challenge while also helping to improve the overall health of your community.

For every pledge to “Go Healthy” this Civil War, PacificSource will donate $1 to a charity of your choice. Charities include:

We’ll be tracking to find out who gets more pledges: Ducks or Beavers. So sign up, get healthy, help your community, and (most importantly), help lead your school to victory!

Up at Dawn, Hiking for Healthcare

Eugene Flag5:00 a.m: The Alarm Sounds

While I’ve never taken a karate chop to the head, I’m pretty sure it feels exactly like waking up at 5:00 a.m. If you’re a morning person, I salute you, but I have to question your sanity. With that in mind, on this day, I had good reason to wake up in the midst of darkness. I was one of the 37 brave (aka insane) PacificSource employees that vowed to “spring” out of bed, go for a hike, and plant rewards for early morning exercisers.

Let me back up a bit. At PacificSource, we want the world to understand that the best way to improve the healthcare system is to simply live a healthier lifestyle. If we eat better, exercise more, stress less, and quit smoking, we can significantly decrease the burden on the entire system. It sounds simple, but it’s a difficult message to broadcast. So to make it happen, we needed to get a little creative.

We decided to reward people for taking part in healthy activities with thank you cards with a little bit of cash (5 big ones). The way we see it, by taking part in a healthy activity, you’re saving all of us healthcare dollars in the long run, so we wanted to give a small piece of those savings back to you. We also offered to donate an additional $5 to a program called Veggie U if our finders sent us a picture of their hike. Here’s a look at the thank you card we created:

Thank You For Helping Healthcare_Project Golden Ticket

But how would we find these healthy people? That was the fun part.

Back to my 5:00 a.m. wake up. We picked 10 popular hiking spots in Oregon, Idaho, and Helena, and our employees teamed up to plant “golden tickets” along those hiking spots. But since we picked a work day to pull it off, we needed to start our hikes at 6:00 a.m. so we could all make it back to work on time. Luckily, I had a hiking squad to keep me accountable for showing up on time, or the old “snooze button” would have gotten a work-out.

Starting before dawn at Hulls Gulch. Boise, ID

Starting before dawn at Hulls Gulch. Boise, ID

6:00 a.m: Let the hiking begin

At the exact same time, all of our hiking teams attacked trails in Eugene,  Bend, Portland, Boise, and Helena. Like little elves, we carried our mysterious flags up hills, along rivers, and through wooded trails in search of the perfect place to plant our “golden tickets.” We looked for places that could only be accessed if you exercised to get there. What that meant for us; we needed to invest some sweat to plant these suckers!

The top of Mt. Pisgha. Eugene, OR

The top of Mt. Pisgah. Eugene, OR

7:00 a.m: Operation “stealth flag plant”commences

Since stumbling across a mysterious note is way more fun than watching somebody leave flag, we wanted to secretly plant them. In my team’s case, I had the honor of planting our flag on the top of Mt. Pisgah in Eugene. I creeped up the hill, darted from tree to tree, and lurched in the grass to avoid being seen. Turns out, nobody else was up there, so all of these antics were strictly for my own amusement (How often do you get to pretend you’re a spy? Can you blame me?). Mission was accomplished. Once again, at all of our hike locations, our teams planted their flags at the same time.

8:00 a.m: Back to Work

What made this such a blast was the fact that so many of us took part, and we all made it back to the office like it was business as usual. When we got back to work, we all felt pretty darn energized by the experience (however, we all felt like slipping into a coma a few hours later). While our goal was to reward a few lucky hikers, our crew probably received the biggest benefit. Whether we were hiking Oregon, Montana, or Idaho, it’s pretty hard to be a morning sunrise after pounding the trails. Not to mention, we felt like a hybrid of a secret and the Easter bunny as we planted the flags. All told, it was a great morning.

Team Riverwalk. Bend, OR.

Team Riverwalk. Bend, OR.

Keep your eyes peeled

We aren’t finished thanking people for helping healthcare. So next time you’re on a hike, jog, walk, or bike ride, keep your eyes peeled. We’ll have thank you cards all over the Northwest.

Huge thanks to all my hiking pals! Had a blast, can’t wait to do it again. To see all of us in action, here are some snapshots from all three states:

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